philip lelyveld The world of entertainment technology


Big Hit Entertainment announces US$3.5 million investment in South Korean audio AI company Supertone

With its latest investment, Big Hit Entertainment has set its sights on using artificial intelligence (AI) to create content for music fans. 

On 25 February, it was announced that the entertainment company, which is the home to global sensations BTS, had poured a hefty sum of 4 billion won (around US$3.6 million) into Supertone, a South Korean tech firm that uses AI technology to synthesise voices.

Last month, Supertone made the headlines for reproducing the voice of South Korean folk-rock icon Kim Kwang-seok, who passed away in 1996. Through the use of AI technology, which analysed a number of songs from Kim's repertoire, the company was able to bring the singer back to "perform" a cover of Kim Bum-soo's 2002 hit 'I Miss You.'

Supertone is also known for creating "highly realistic and expressive" new digital voices that are "indistinguishable" from those of real people. One example would an original AI voice that recorded a cover of singer-songwriter Lee Sun-hee's 'Fox Rain.'

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Nestle Debuts Virtual Human Cookie Coach

Nestle Toll House introduced a virtual human named Ruth to help people bake cookies this week .

Ruth was built in partnership with Soul Machines, a New Zealand developer of virtual humans. Soul Machines has provided tech for many virtual human projects, including Ella, The New Zealand police department virtual officer that interacts with visitors to a police station. For Ruth’s AI and interactive ability, Nestle used Google Dialogflow for natural language processing, but Amazon Polly for the text-to-speech because it had better pacing and avoided uncanny valley territory, according to Bertelsen.

Both the AI and visual elements are improving rapidly, with MetaHuman Creator drawing a lot of buzz for its realistic human appearance and startups like CoCo Hub showing just how flexible the combination of vocal and visual graphics can be. LG stood out at CES this year because Reah Keem, a virtual influencer created by the company performed part of the keynote. 

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21 Augmented Reality Trends to Keep an Eye on for 2021

See Tom Emrich's full list here:


We need to talk about Artificial Intelligence

  • Dialogue is hampered by an information gap between creators of AI technology and policymakers trying to regulate it.
  • Knowledge building is critical to set a framework of ethics and norms in which AI can innovate safely.
  • Principles are valuable only if they are agreed upon and if they are actually implemented.

While consensus starts to form around the impact that AI will have on humankind, civil society, the public and the private sector alike are increasing their requests for accountability and trust-building. Ethical considerations such as AI bias (by race, gender, or other criteria), and algorithmic transparency (clarity on the rules and methods by which machines make decisions) have already negatively impacted society through the technologies we use daily.

Technology providers – lack of clarity on AI ethics 

Compared with other corporate social responsibilities, AI is accelerating the need for technology companies to advance conversations about ethics and trust, as AI echoes societal behaviour. With AI, corporations risk being the driver of an exponential increase of the biases already existing in society at an irreversible scale and rate.

Therefore, technology companies need both ethics literacy and a commitment to multidisciplinary research to create a sound understanding and adoption of ethics. However, through their training and during their careers, the technical teams behind AI developments are not methodically educated about the complexity of human social systems, how their products could negatively impact society, and how to embed ethics in their designs.

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Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence and Weizmann Institute of Science establish joint AI Program

The Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) and the Weizmann Institute of Science (WIS) have announced the establishment of the MBZUAI-WIS Joint Program for Artificial Intelligence Research (the AI Program). The new program will promote collaborative initiatives in fundamental artificial intelligence research and will explore AI applications in domains such as healthcare, genomics and more.

H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Chairman of the MBZUAI Board of Trustees, Professor Eric Xing, President of MBZUAI, and Professor Alon Chen, President of Weizmann Institute of Science

The 23rd Annual Entertainment Law Initiative Event & Scholarship Presentation Announces Winners Of Writing Competition

Sophia Sofferman
University of Miami
Miami, Fla.
Paper Title
"It's My [Recapture Right], And It's Now or Never…"
Evan Biegel
St. John's University 
Queens, N.Y.
Paper Title
"Tuning the Role of Artificial Intelligence in Musical Work Infringement"
Alberto Vargas
University of Chicago
Chicago, Ill.
Paper Title
"Bare Possibility or Reasonable Opportunity? In Defense of a Defendant- Conscious View of 'Access' in a Digital Age"

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Saudi Aramco signs new augmented reality deal with PIF-backed US startup Magic Leap

Magic Leap, the US-based augmented reality startup backed by the Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund, Public Investment Fund (PIF), has signed a collaboration with oil conglomerate Saudi Aramco, its CEO Peggy Johnson announced on Wednesday.

With more than 33,000 employees around the globe, SABIC has had to pay attention to its employees’ well-being, socially, physically, mentally and financially, the executive said.

BNY Mellon CEO Todd Gibbons in the US said that the pandemic has made everyone turn more fluid when it comes to technology, but he can see the office experience changing with introduction of artificial intelligence (AI) and voice-recognition.

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Jadu Recruits Jake Sally As Its First-Ever Chief Operating Officer

Now, Jadu is evolving. While social holograms are still a core component, its latest project, Curse of Calypso: A Palaye Royale AR Experience, pushes the social hologram format deeper into the realm of interactive storytelling. Rather than a 15-second loop, it’s a roughly 10-minute narrative experience that plays out in a user’s own space. It’s a glimpse of the immersive future Jadu is trying to build in its next wave of offerings.

To do so, Jadu is scaling. Notably, the company has raised $2M—and now welcomes its first-ever Chief Operating Officer (COO): Jake Sally. Sally, an Emmy-nominated producer, was formerly Head of Development at RYOT, Verizon Media’s branded content studio. While in this role, he was instrumental in supporting cutting-edge artists—whose work spans a wide spectrum of technologies including XR, AI, 5G, projection mapping, and motion capture—helping them fund, produce, and distribute their work.

One such artist was Jadu CEO Asad J. Malik.

During that time, Malik ran a studio called 1RIC, through which he produced festival darlings Terminal 3 and A Jester’s Tale. But as Jadu has gained momentum over 2020, Malik has decided to merge the two entities under the Jadu banner.

As COO, Sally will oversee day-to-day operations, head up the company’s partnerships, and work to develop a forthcoming slate of next-generation projects at Jadu.

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Virgin Galactic Hires Former Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde as Experience Architect

Rohde will be Virgin Galactic’s first Experience Architect, bringing his experience as an Imagineer to the job of designing experiences for the company’s future astronauts.

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Anthony Levandowski closes his Church of AI

While the legal construct of the Way of the Future mirrored other churches, it didn’t have the trimmings found in traditional houses of worship. There was never a physical building or even regular meetings where people might congregate. There were no ceremonies or other formalities, according to Levandowski, who described WOTF as something more of an individual pursuit based on a collective belief system.

The aim, as implied in the now defunct WOTF website, was to promote the ethical development of AI and maximize the chance that these nonbiological life forms would integrate peacefully and beneficially into society. “Humans United in support of AI, committed to peaceful transition to the precipice of consciousness,” the webpage reads.

WOTF’s belief system was rooted in a few tenets, including that the creation of “super intelligence” is inevitable.

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